stealing designs for profit // 27 May 2011

In the future, Urban Outfitters will learn from its mistakes. Instead of stealing designs, they’ll “steal designs,” and leverage its sullied reputation to increase sales. Here’s a simple three step guide to how they’ll do it.

  1. Identify an indie designer whose products they’d like to “steal.” Strike a secret deal with said designer, whereby they license the designs and agree to share revenue back with the designer.

  2. List new products for sale on UrbanOutfitters.com. Designer “complains” on the Internet, fueling outrage on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc., driving traffic both to the designer’s indie store as well as UrbanOutfitters.com. Milk the self-righteous anger over Corporate America Stealing Designs for incremental sales and awareness.

  3. Profit.

This would make for a great test, comparing sales driven directly through UrbanOutfitters.com (using all their standard marketing tactics - SEO, SEM, merchandising on the site, etc.) to sales on the indie designer’s store front, with awareness driven primarily through viral / social means. Of course, it’s a tactic best used sparingly, lest those pesky Internet people catch on to what you’re up to.